Margaret Wente is obvious in her political bias, but her lessons are sound.
Take the so-called ethnic vote. When the Liberals courted new Canadians, it was smart. When the Conservatives do it, it’s sleazy. During the campaign, the CBC assembled countless panels of ethnic people to express their disgust at this condescending and divisive tactic. Amazingly, however, ethnic voters seemed glad to have important cabinet ministers show up in their ridings. They liked the focus on stability and a strong economy. Besides, the Liberals hadn’t been around for years.
As a “very ethnic” voter, the tone-deaf attacks on Conservative targetted campaigning were maddening. We are well aware that the Liberals and NDP spent just as long, if not longer, hobnobbing with visible minority community leaders to try to take their votes. The Tories were guilty, if anything, of being a bit too blunt in their approach.
Attacking them for that, though, yields no dividends. Either you are persuaded by this type of approach, and the ham-fisted style probably bought some brownie points: they’re not perfect, but they’re trying. Or you are indeed turned off by the divisiveness, and are just reminded that the attackers are hypocrites. If you’re running for office and you don’t like your opponent’s tactics, rather than the fact that they’re being applied to you, the first thing to do is to stop doing them yourself.